After a 12-year absence, the Arab League has finally readmitted Syria into its membership. Damascus was initially suspended from the organization due to the outbreak of the devastating Syrian civil war and Bashar al-Assad’s harsh suppression of the opposition. As the conflict evolved and Assad’s government, with considerable support from Russia and Iran, gained control, Arab nations chose to pursue reconciliation. Despite objections from countries such as Qatar, a major supporter of the Syrian opposition, and the United States, which questions Syria’s worthiness of rejoining the Arab League, the majority of Arab states are in favor of reestablishing connections with Assad’s government.
Originating from the Arab Spring uprisings, the Syrian civil war began as a popular movement against Assad’s authoritarian rule. The conflict quickly transformed into a sectarian battle, with extremist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS seizing control of the opposition and inciting violence against Assad’s minority Alawite community, which holds considerable influence in Syria. The war also carried geopolitical ramifications, as Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah sided with the government, while the US, Turkey, and the majority of Arab states backed the opposition.
Syria paid a heavy price during the civil war, with over 300,000 civilian fatalities and millions displaced, many of whom sought asylum in Turkey and Europe. The Arab League’s re-engagement with Syria, possibly spurred by warming Saudi-Iranian relations, strives to establish a lasting resolution to the civil war. This renewed engagement will enable Syrians to reconstruct their country and promote a democratic power-sharing agreement between the government and opposition forces. Furthermore, Arab states must actively denounce Israel’s persistent violations of Syrian sovereignty through countless airstrikes, many of which have targeted civilian areas.
The reintegration of Syria into the Arab League signifies a shift in regional dynamics and opens the door to potential collaboration and diplomacy among Arab nations. This step could lead to collective efforts in addressing the myriad challenges still facing Syria, such as the reconstruction process, the return of refugees, and the establishment of long-term political stability. The international community, particularly Arab states, must now work together to support Syria in overcoming the devastating aftermath of the civil war and forging a brighter future for its people.